Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Release Sets Records
If you have any kind of passing interest in video games then you’ve more than likely heard of Call of Duty. The series has been around since 2003, and including sequels, spin-off/expansions has released 12 different games. The latest title is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) and looks to be the best selling yet.
Modern Warfare 2 could be on the Top 20 best selling games of all time list before the year ends. You thought Twilight knocked the ball out of the park with a $142 million opening weekend? Modern Warfare 2 raked in over $310 million in it’s first 24 hours and sold 4.7 million units, setting a launch day media record. The previous record holder was Grand Theft Auto IV which sold 3.6 million units.
The Modern Warfare 2 craze not only spawned record breaking sales, but set records on the Xbox Live Service. The first day of release saw around 2.2 million gamers logon to play Modern Warfare 2 online. Coupled with the statistic is 5.2 million online multiplayer hours were logged during the game’s first day.
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Leading up to release, Modern Warfare 2 had a couple of minor speed bumps. First, the PC community was up in arms about Infinity Ward’s decision to do away with dedicated servers from the multiplayer service. Dedicated servers are the tried and true method of allowing multiplayer gameplay in first person shooters. The reason dedicated servers are so loved by the PC community is they allow players to monitor and police gameplay sessions, and allow for open customization by the server admin.
Instead of going the traditional ‘dedicated’ route, Infinity Ward launched their IWNet service. They decided to scrap dedicated servers altogether, stating the overall quality of online multiplayer would improve with IWNet. This led the PC community to petition, and some to even boycott MW2. Currently, there are over 226,000 signatures for the online petition.
What had greater potential to spoil the MW2 party was the backlash coming from a particular gameplay element which sparked some controversy. There’s a mission included in the game which has you working undercover in a terrorist cell, who’s gunning down civilians in a Russian airport. The game provides an option to engage in the shooting to help bolster your undercover image. I haven’t played the game personally, but reports on all fronts state the level is played out very cinematically and is meant to pull the emotional strings of the player.
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The controversy has stemmed from a wide variety of places. The most prevelant is from Australia, where classification of the game was put under much higher scrutiny than the US release. The events of the Ft. Hood tragedy only added fuel to the fire, and led many people to be upset at the images shown in MW2. Stephen Totilo an editor of Kotaku.com, a popular video game blog, spoke with MSNBC and provided some insight into what brought the level to the media forefront:
The dedicated server protest, and terrorist level couldn’t keep Modern Warfare 2 from reaching mammoth sales. If anything the added media coverage only helped hype the game even further. VGChartz, a company based around video game sales figures is projecting Modern Warfare 2 to sell 14.5 million copies by the turn of the new year.